Grocery Chain Aldi is Expanding Organics to Meet Consumer Demand

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Source: NaturalSociety.com
Julie Fidler
January 28, 2016

Aldi Inc., a German grocery chain that is rapidly expanding in the United States, is making great strides to offer healthy foods at an affordable price.

The discount grocer plans to introduce Healthier Checklanes in select stores. Instead of candy and chocolate, Aldi will offer an assortment of nuts, trail mixes, dried fruits, and granola bars at its registers. The company says it will roll out the program to its nearly 1,500 stores by year’s end.

“By introducing Healthier Checklanes and through a number of other initiatives, we are doing our part to remove temptation at checkout and stocking stores with even more nutritious options,” said Jason Hart, chief executive officer of Aldi. “At Aldi, we truly care about our customers, and we’re responding with guilt-free checkout zones and increased food options they can feel good about.”

Aldi says it has also removed certified synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils and added MSG from its exclusive food brands, which account for more than 90% of its products. In addition, it will offer milk free of artificial growth hormones, and its yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese will be made with milk containing none of the hormones. [1]

The stores will expand its selection of fresh and organic meat and produce, and will offer a wider variety of gluten-free products under the liveGfree brand. [2]

Other initiatives include highlighting nutritional facts on the front of exclusive brand food packages and partnering with registered dieticians to offer consumers tips, recipes, and meal-planning suggestions.

The news comes near the company’s similar announcement that it will be banning bee-killing pesticides on produce.

Aldi has become one of the world’s biggest food retailers by offering quality products at prices approximately 30% lower than Walmart’s, threatening Whole Foods and 365 by Whole Foods Market, which is set to launch this year.

Continue Reading At: NaturalSociety.com

Students Learn Organic Farming, Sell Thousands of Pounds of Produce After Internship

Let’s Continue This Type Of Education

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Source: NaturalSociety.com
Christina Sarich
January 27, 2016

As part of the growing need to find sustainable ways to provide organic, quality food for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors, more young people have become interested in organic farming. Now new programs are teaching children the importance of self-sustainable farming, and how to farm using age-old techniques.

A primary modern issue with farming, in many cases, has been a lack of education from one generation to another since many of our ancient seed-saving, planting, and harvesting practices have been lost to the corporate agricultural model. Now, we are finally starting to mend this escalating issue. For example, with one program run by Dr. Steve McLaskey of the Sustainable Living Department at Maharishi University’s organic farm, students learn how to organic farm in every aspect, and their success has been astounding.

With the use of just a small, one-acre plot and a few greenhouses, students learn every aspect of growing organic vegetables. They plan, operate tractors, coddle seeds into seedlings, make compost, prepare the land, and even sell the produce they grow at the local farmer’s market. Students of the University have an opportunity to learn state-of-the-art organic growing processes and organic farming.

Students learn how to prepare the land for planting, and get rid of caterpillars by spraying a non-toxic bacteria on plants. They learn when certain vegetables need to be planted and harvested, how to manage and plan irrigation, including preparing for rainy days, and every aspect of what it would take to run their own organic farm.

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com

‘Seeds Of Change’ Documents The Seed Saving Movement

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Source:Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
January 23, 2016

Seeds are essential to maintain future food supplies. They are the foundation of life, from fruits and vegetables to grain and livestock feed — without them, we have no food. It’s estimated that upwards of 90 percent of our caloric intake comes from seeds, directly or indirectly.

Seeds represent hope and new beginnings. When you save seeds, you’re joining a lineage of farmers, gardeners and seed enthusiasts that dates back to the Stone Age — our civilization arose, in large part, due to seed saving.

Early humans selected the best wild plants with which to feed themselves, passing those varieties along to others by saving and sharing seeds.

Sadly, age-old heirloom varieties are disappearing at an alarming rate — 90 percent of the crop varieties grown 100 years ago are already gone. The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership estimates that 60,000 to 100,000 plant species are in danger of extinction.1

In response to these snowballing losses, a movement to save seeds is sweeping the nation.

The PBS documentary “Seeds of Change” features seed savers who are pursuing grassroots alternatives to GMOs and to industrialized agricultural practices that threaten our health and the health of the planet.

The Disastrous Consequences of Patenting Life

Traditionally, seeds have been saved and shared between farmers from one season to the next. Farmers rarely ever had to buy new seed. Nature, when left alone, provides you with the means to propagate the next harvest in a never-ending cycle.

Today, valuable heirlooms have been replaced by massive expanses of genetically engineered (GE) crops. According to the USDA, 94 percent of U.S. soy and 88 percent of U.S. corn are now genetically engineered.

It’s estimated that, since 1970, 20,000 seed companies have been swallowed up by mega-corporations. In 2005, Monsanto bought the world’s largest fruit and vegetable seed company, Seminis, for $1.4 billion.

Just four agrichemical companies now own 43 percent of the world’s commercial seed supply, and 10 multinational corporations hold 65 percent of global commercial seed for major crops.2

Many farmers are now dependent on patented GE seeds and must buy them every year from companies like Monsanto. Saving such seeds is illegal because it’s considered patent infringement.

Farmers don’t buy the seed outright anymore — they essentially buy a license to use the seed for a short period of time — typically one season. It’s more of a lease, or a “technology use agreement.”

For 200 years, the patenting of life was prohibited, especially with respect to foods. But in 1978, all of that changed with the first patent of a living organism, an oil-eating microbe, which opened the proverbial floodgates. One of Monsanto’s proxies has a patent claiming 463,173 separate plant genes!

Patenting of life was never approved by Congress or the American public, but as far as the GMO industry is concerned, they own a gene wherever it ends up and however it gets there.

You have undoubtedly heard the argument that GE foods are the only way to feed the world (which is, by the way, completely false). What is often not mentioned in that argument, however, is the inequality of the playing fields.

According to the featured documentary, in one three-year period alone, public funding for the development of GE versus organic crops was 70 to one!

Every Day, Your Food Choices Become Increasingly Limited

Over the course of 80 years (between 1903 and 1983), we lost 93 percent of the variety in our food seeds. According to Rural Advancement Foundation International:3

  • We went from 497 varieties of lettuce to 36
  • We went from 288 varieties of beets to 17
  • We went from 307 varieties of sweet corn to 12

Even the popular heirloom tomato has taken an enormous hit, having lost at least 80 percent of its diversity over the last century. Even more tragic is the fact that many of these precious plants are being replaced by patented GE varieties.

Continue Reading At: Mercola.com

How Scotland’s “Organic Ambitions” Plan Will Shift the Future of Food and Farming

After announcing a ban on GMOs

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Source: NaturalSociety.com
Julie Fidler
January 22, 2016

Next week, “Organic Ambitions: An Action Plan for organic food and farming in Scotland 2016-2020” will be unveiled in Scotland. The plan for organic food production is designed to help build a more sustainable farming future and stimulate the rural economy.

The January 27 launch will coincide with the first day of the Organic Research Center’s annual conference, being held in Bristol.

Organic Ambitions is a reboot of Organic Futures, an organic action plan produced in 2011 and revised in 2013, which was intended to strengthen Scotland’s organic food sector.

It is the work of the Scottish Organic Forum (SOF), which includes Soil Association Scotland, Scottish Organic Producers Association, Organic Growers Alliance, Caledonian Organics, Scottish Organic Milk Producers, Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, Scotland’s Rural College, SAC Consulting, and The Scottish Government. [1]

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The SOF says its goals include:

“Knowledge – Understanding the benefits that organic produce can bring to everyone and to our environment

Strength – Building a stronger Scottish organic supply chain to increase the availability of organic produce for everyone

Skills – Ensuring that everyone interested in learning about innovative organic production will have access to advice and training

Resilience – Strengthening the ability of organic farming to conserve and enhance Scotland’s biodiversity and natural resources, and in turn to build more resilient farms.” [2]

Wendy Seel, chairman of the SOF, explains:

“Organic Ambitions will aim to build knowledge about organics, strength in the organic supply chain and skills across the organic sector.”

Continue Reading At: NaturalSociety.com